art by Arlene Kim Suda

pay attention...

pay attention…

State of the Studio – December 2015

Posted on December 31, 2015 by aks

There’s something about the last state of the studio post of the year that feels important not to skip even though my December studio story is mainly about being sick. I can’t seem to get well this winter.

So what’s been brewing while turning inward and quiet? Lots of listening. Listening to the messages I notice from friends, from the art that inspires me, the things that happen to catch my attention…

Like roses in December. I’ve been mesmerized watching a wild rose quietly bloom in our garden, noticing a similar rose painted by Edouard Vuillard at the Asian Art Museum’s Looking East exhibit and then re-discovering a sublime Christmas song about a rose by Praetorius: Es Ist Ein Ros Entsprungen. And while watching a bouquet of roses we have in the house for Christmas beautifully bloom, unfold and fade, I felt so moved that I started drawing again. Drawing as meditation. It felt healing though I’m still sick…so no miracles this year.


Another longer range project for 2016 arising from the starkness and quiet of winter is a video exhibit I’m calling LISTENING IS AN ACT OF LOVE, aimed at capturing family oral histories. Still need to work on getting people comfortable not only telling their story but also sharing them — another challenge for the new year.

Lately, I am also feeling grateful for the stillness, the starkness, even the brutality of winter. I feel this gratitude goes deeper that just giving me a reason to appreciate better times. I think the pain and sadness we can feel in ‘the winter’ has purpose. It creates a reason to expose the source of our spirit in ways that we are not usually comfortable excavating. It has only been through sickness and even depression that I have been open to listen to my inner voice and recognize its strength and clarity. Listening is an act of love. Even truly listening to yourself can be a great act of love not only for yourself but for all those you touch.

Here’s to a great 2016 ahead. I hope it will be filled with love in its many forms for all of you.


“…let no one forget strength of character…the kind that through the virtue of its purity and its sap, stands up to all the winds that blow in from the sea. Such is the strength of character that in the winter of the world will prepare the fruit.” – Albert Camus (found at

  • Inspiration for…

  • Archives